Egencia has been taking a look at how technology such as artificial intelligence will effect the corporate travel world in the near, medium and long-term.
Alongside Phocuswright, the Expedia-owned travel management company has put together a white paper entitled the “Emerging Tech-Driven Corporate Travel Revolution.”
The study provides a current state of the nation look as regards technologies such as AI, machine learning, Natural Language Processing and chatbots in business travel as well as looking further out.
In three years time, for example, the research predicts AI will be embedded in corporate travel in terms of how data is used to make for smarter, more efficient travel and improved compliance.
Natural language processing and chatbots are not expected to be fully embedded at this early stage.
This is interesting as many airlines now seem to have developed a chatbot and are addressing various elements of travel from booking a ticket to customer service.
How these evolve into something more than a “me too” exercise will be where the point of differentiation lies.
Moving a little further ahead to five to seven years, the report sees the “true impact of AI” on the corporate travel experience.
The “always connected travel environment” helped by IoT devices and wearables is expected to be at play and will continue to drive the expectation for immediate service.
Again, there are already developments in this area with mobile devices and other self-service technology being trialled to improve the experience.
The study also reveals voice and intelligent chatbots will have come into play in five to seven years time with the ability to offer a blend of human and computer interface to the traveller according to his or her preferences.
Problems of travel policy compliance should also be greatly reduced as technologies will not only be more aware of preferences and requirements but also flag non-compliance in real-time.
The report also reveals wearables and IoT devices will help with duty of care obligations by monitoring the health of safety of travelling employees and providing location information.
And, casting the crystal ball 10 years down the line, the study reveals a time when our travel needs are anticipated and met automatically. Friction will be removed from all areas of corporate travel including security at airports and hotel check-in and checkout processes.
Recent trials from various quarters around biometrics and ongoing work to alleviate some of the friction around security are bringing the dream of seamless travel alive but most, it seems, believe it’s at least a decade away.
NB: Corporate travel image via BigStock.